ASouth Central, Los Angeles, native JAG — also known as Chubby JAG — is one of those acts who you hear for the first time and say, “Why haven’t I heard of this guy?” His path has been long and winding; from being brought into the industry by Cassidy — whom he was connected to through his friend, former NBA player Bobby Simmons — to losing his voice for over a year, the journey to his debut LP Dalton Ave was something to celebrate.
Though the album failed to burst him into the stratosphere he ultimately should be floating within, it did set the stage for 2700, a project that sees his entire presentation doused in the commercial pheromones the debut (appeared to) lack.
Following the attention he garnered from his powerful viral song/video “Kaepernick Effect,” his latest effort is poised to be the final kick necessary to knock the door off the hinges. Stacked with tight curation all around — from the production to the features — it’s structured around success without sacrificing any of his edge, or ever veering too far into mainstream pandering.
Rather, the 12-song affair is an exercise in crafting bops, while still managing to exude the level of wordplay that first earned him a cosign from Cassidy — arguably one of the most dangerous bar-for-bar MCs Hip Hop ever witnessed.
His features are especially timely, such as one of the immediate standout “Black Boy Rise,” which features Dreamville rapper Cozz and TDE’s newest signee Reason trading verses over an instrumental laced with heavy guitars and hypnotic chanting. Then there’s the most impressive card in his deck, “I’m The Shit,” which features and is also co-produced by Ty Dolla $ign. In 2018, a feature from Ty$ is a sign that a song is fire, and the record is no exception to attracting heat.
The project does a great job at diversifying itself, like the with the song “Saturday Night,” with its bouncy West Coast party vibe and buttery chorus by Garren. As well, there’s the intro and outro (“The Nomo Years” and “Sham God”) that have these big soulful soundscapes and the album’s most complex verses that beg for more than a few taps on the rewind button to catch some of his most clever bars.
Jag has been nice, and his features have been impressive. This is just a level up meant to open up his brand to a broader audience. “ is the commercial JAG, the artist that everyone wants, the one that has to be out there to compete with all the other artist. The radio JAG, if you will,” he told HipHopDX in an interview earlier this month.
While he’s more than lived up to that claim, the LP does inherently fall short to capture the immediacy and power of “Kaepernick Effort” in favor of surfing waves. As a result, there is a lack of consistent depth and layers to 2700, beyond moments of self-aware transparency sprinkled here and there.
Overall though, with a strong supporting cast, this will be the real test of just how significant his brand’s potential indeed is, and define how he is able to blaze forward. If 2700 can’t do it, well … Kanye shrug.